JAKARTA - Indonesia are risking the wrath
of FIFA by refusing to ban two candidates football's world
governing body want removed from the race to become the chairman
of the country's football association (PSSI).
FIFA had banned local oil tycoon Arifin Panigoro, who
launched the breakaway Indonesian Premier League (LPI), and Army
Chief of Staff George Toisutta and warned the PSSI electoral
appeal committee last week they faced "severe sanctions" if the
duo were reinstated.
However, appeal committee chairman Ahmad Riyadh said new
evidence had come to light and that the pair would be allowed to
stand in the May 20 election.
"Arifin and George have never broken FIFA's or PSSI's
statutes," Riyadh told local Indonesian media.
"We understand that this decision will not please all
parties, but this is our final decision and we believe that this
is the right decision so Indonesian football can move forward
into a better era."
FIFA had also banned Nirwan Bakrie and incumbent Nurdin
Halid, whose administration was to blame for the ban on Panigoro
and Toisutta, Riyadh said.
"We found several (pieces of) evidence that previous PSSI
officials were manipulating facts about George and Arifin,"
"Those officials sent the wrong facts about them to FIFA,
which of course influenced FIFA's decision to ban them from the
In a letter seen by Reuters last week, FIFA stated that the
PSSI electoral appeal committee was not allowed to process the
appeal on the eligibility for the PSSI presidency as the case
has already been decided and the penalty for not abiding by the
decision could be a suspension.
The Jakarta Globe quoted Halim Mahfudz, a spokesman for
Panigoro and Toisutta, saying the pair would take their case to
sport's highest tribunal, the Court of Arbitration for Sport
(CAS), should FIFA prevent them from being able to stand.
"FIFA statutes say only a criminal can't run the (PSSI) and
George and Arifin are not criminals," Mahfudz told the paper.
The developments and the possibility of a CAS hearing are
likely to delay the elections with a suspension jeopardising
Indonesia's participation in 2014 World Cup qualifying.
Indonesia, ranked 130th by FIFA, have been drawn to play
Turkmenistan in the second round of Asian qualifying, with the
first leg to take place on July 23 in Ashgabat before the return
in Jakarta five days later.
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